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True leadership: 5 things to learn from Mahatma Gandhi

education Updated: Jan 30, 2017 17:26 IST
HT Education Correspondent
Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi believed in the freedom to make mistakes.(Getty Images)

Values make a great leader, and no one exemplifies this better than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whose death anniversary is being observed today. Here are five leadership lessons you can learn from the sayings of the great man.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. It’s humanly impossible to be right all the time. Mistakes are great learning lessons and anyone bold enough to step into unknown territory knows and understands that he or she runs the risk of failing. To go right ahead and do what you are afraid of makes you a leader who is simply not content to let things just be.

A leader is useless when he acts against the promptings of his own conscience. Any wrong being done on your watch is your responsibility. Leaders studiously avoid issues that are ethically wrong. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 reported by Transparency International ranked India as the 79th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries – something that no Indian will definitely take pride in. In this country then, those who go by their conscience, stand up for wrong – no matter how trivial the matter - are a rare breed. Such people are the ones who should be valued by their peers, seniors and subordinates.

Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny. True hallmarks of a leader are measuring words carefully, thinking first, speaking later, living life according to one’s moral values. That’s what drives the success story of a leader. There is no greater motivation in your life than believing in yourself and being convinced that your life has the potential to change history.

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. It was one man’s belief in non-violence that helped a nation overthrow colonial rule. It’s a small spark that leads to a raging fire. This quote again reiterates one key elixir for success: belief in oneself and one’s rightful place in a larger scheme of things. Being convinced of the purity of your intentions will fire others to work for a greater cause that benefits not just you but others as well.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems. Ever truly thought about this great quote? Pushing the envelope, going that extra mile, cramming a little extra into your daily routine can pay fantastic dividends. Set impossible goals for yourself, dream big and act on those dreams. You’ll be surprised at the results.